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29th April 2021

Get thee to a gallery: Manchester’s top new exhibitions

Alienor Bombarde casts an eager eye over the exciting in-person exhibitions set to open in May
Get thee to a gallery: Manchester’s top new exhibitions
Photo: John Lord @ Flickr

The UK is finally blossoming open again. Galleries are emerging from what feels like a year-long hibernation. Manchester’s art lovers are putting their best feet forward to usher in fresh air and promote talented individuals.

So, what’s on?

‘In Manchester’

In their first stand-alone exhibition, Cotton On MCR hosts over 40+ Greater Manchester artists. ‘In Manchester’ will be held at the Saul Hay Gallery from Saturday 24th of April to Monday 3rd of May. This exhibition embodies the idea that art can be for everyone. Featuring paintings, photography, sculptures, textiles, and drawings from a wide variety of both emerging and established artists.

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire

After a year of turmoil, the Imperial War Museum explores healing from the First World War to current times. The extended exhibition Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire sheds light on humanitarians working in conflict zones. It offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the Big Picture Show, and see artists’ reinterpretations of conflict.

Photo: John Twohig @ Flickr

Book your tickets for the popular exhibition reopening from 19 May 2021 here.


This exhibition will run in Manchester from the 13th of May until the 22nd of September. It will span across HOME, The Whitworth, Castlefield Galley, and Manchester Art Gallery. It includes emerging and established British artists and filmmakers.

Acclaimed as the most important recurring exhibition of British contemporary art, the British Art Show is in its ninth year. This year, it explores themes of difference, healing, and care. It is curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar. As it tours across the country, the exhibition adapts to each city. In Manchester, it will look at how industrial roots are continually transformed within an ever-changing society.

Book HOME here.

Manchester Art Gallery

Photo: Sun Peng @ Flickr.

Opening on the 17th of May until December 2021 is the exhibition ‘What is Manchester Art Gallery’. It will delve into the gallery’s long-held position at Manchester’s cultural centre. The works will span across time and media, emphasising that the collection is owned by and for the people of Manchester.

For the first time since 2002, the gallery space has been modernised. Visit the website to suggest a piece from the gallery collection that you would like to see included!

‘UNEASE’ by Grace Sharp

Grace Sharp is a glass artist and MMU Graduate Award Winner. Grace’s work, using pressure and glass blowing techniques to create abstract forms, explores anxiety and depression. A preview is available on Manchester Craft and Design Centre website before the exhibition opens on May 17th.

The online exhibition will be available to view until 31st August.

Photo: PDKImages @Flickr

What to do?

Call up your friends and book all of the venues! Just do it, go on.

This has been an extraordinary year. So, make the most of the intellectual nourishment and social stimulation many may have missed out on. Book what you can – what you want – and embrace the idea that soon you’ll be vaccinated. Finally free to move as you please.

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